The positive benefits of global linkages have infiltrated so much of our everyday economic and cultural lives that we cannot imagine the world without them. The gains in prosperity are enormous. The downside of it, however, is that stronger competition has massively increased the pressure on pay and working conditions. This applies to Germany and the other member states of the European Union (EU); this does not exclude the disastrous working conditions in the Third World countries and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) states. More and more, the workers are bearing the brunt of the increased competition and social standards are coming under growing pressure. Unimpressively, the increased prosperity has been most unevenly distributed. While the wealthiest one per cent of the world population is clearly profiting from globalisation, the incomes of large portions of the middle class in the industrialised countries are stagnating and the poorest of the world population are seeing their real incomes decline.